Research suggests that mindfulness-based interventions may improve psychological wellbeing. However, the mechanisms underlying the effects of these interventions are unclear. The present investigation examined the relationship between self-control and mindfulness meditation practice. Self-control, which is positively correlated with wellbeing, is considered a resource that can be depleted: after completing one self-control task, poorer performance typically results on a subsequent self-control task.  Mindfulness meditators were given a control (non-conflicting color word and ink color) or depletion (conflict) Stroop task followed by a persistence-requiring handgrip task in a crossover design. It was hypothesized that long-term meditators would show superior performance on the handgrip following the depletion Stroop. Total number of mediation hours was unrelated to self-control depletion. Number of years of meditation, a subcomponent of the overall meditation hours composite, did significantly predict number of seconds on the handgrip.

Autumn Wiley

University of Arizona